If you knew today was your last day, what regrets would you have? What would you have missed? What do you wish you had done differently?
Recently I was referred to a book called ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’ and have become rather obsessive about ensuring I won’t share these regrets when my time comes.
It also got me thinking about our clients at Magenta and the work that we do with them to identify, achieve and maintain secure and happy lives (hopefully without any regrets!)
Bronnie Ware, the author of the book is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom.
Apparently, when questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, she noticed common themes surfaced again and again.
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed and described by Bronnie Ware in her book:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
At Magenta we focus on people’s lives not their money and if we can do anything to ensure no regrets, we will be very happy to do so.
If this article resonates with you perhaps you should consider this:
what is your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?
Call us for a friendly chat on 01656 760670